CHICKEN & SHITAKE MUSHROOM BROWN RICE CONGEE
There’s a lurgy going around at the moment and it seems to be of the snotty nose and raspy cough variety. Not very pleasant for anyone involved! I attempt to combat colds by swigging olive leaf like its champagne (very responsibly!), brewing ginger, lemon and raw honey concoctions and by putting on a pot of slow simmering chicken soup. How effective these methods are at curing an ailment is debatable, yet one thing is for certain they are good for your soul.
This week there have been a few sickies in my family so naturally I’ve turned to chicken soup for help. I love that every family has a different recipe for chicken soup. One that’s been scratched out on the back of a birthday card, receipt or equally odd piece of paper, to be passed down to the next person and lovingly glued into a recipe scrapbook. A motley collection of family favourites that will one day will become a priceless heirloom.
My mum has always cooked me rice congee when I get sick. Congee is another word for rice soup, traditionally it’s served for breakfast and is often quite bland like porridge without honey. But I like to eat congee at anytime of the day and give it a bit more kick by adding spices, salty fish sauce and even a little chilli. The stock or ‘bone broth’ (which seems to be the nutritional buzz word at the moment!) is really the key to this dish as it’s where all the flavour and goodness is coming from.
If you are feeling like you need a warm hug, and everyone does, this soup will hug your insides and leave you feeling loved. It might even be a nice one to add to your family’s chicken soup repertoire to one day be passed down on the back of a tissue! (Hopefully not a used one) Enjoy.. Dani x
Chicken & Shitake Mushroom Brown Rice Congee
Serves a sick family of 6
Takes about 4 hours to make
Number of ingredients: 10
WHAT YOU NEED
1 free-range chicken (preferably organic)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
A few dried chillies (optional)
40g dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water until soft then roughly chopped
2 cups brown rice
Spring onion, to garnish
Extra ginger to garnish
HOW YOU MAKE IT
Grab a large stockpot, place it over medium heat, add a few glugs of olive or coconut oil and when its hot, add onions and sauté them for about 5 minutes slowly, then add your ginger and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. I like to get a bit of colour on this mixture towards the end of cooking them as you get a nice flavour from doing this.
Add in your chicken, star anise, cinnamon and chillies if using, then cover the chicken with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer very gently for about an hour or so, topping up with water as needed. You can even do this longer but just cook it on a very low heat. Remove chicken, strain stock reserving the liquid, and when its cool shred the chicken meat to put back in the soup later.
Place the stock back in the pot, add in the rice and cook on a low heat for up to 3 – 4 hours or until rice is of a creamy consistency, stirring occasionally and topping up the soup with water as needed. Don’t worry that you are just using plain old water to do this as the flavour of the chicken stock won’t disappear and will intensify as its reduced. Add in the water from the soaked mushrooms also.
In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add in the chicken and the mushrooms, season with a good quality fish sauce that doesn’t have lots of sugar added to it. The congee should be almost creamy and thick, however it shouldn’t be dry, add in more water if it seems too dry. Serve with spring onion and ginger and season with a good quality fish or soy sauce if desired.